It was just off Boracay on the next island over. We’d taken a fishing boat converted now to take the meager, road weary but otherwise hardy travelers across the strait to the bigger island Panay and the regional airport. We were flying back to Manila.
The airport building was a wooden shack. The runway was a hardened field with animals grazing, scattered here and there. I’m not making this up, before I plane took off someone cranked an old horn and the sheep, goats and cattle sauntered off to the sides.
One of the engines was being repaired. We had some time to kill, as is typical when traveling, especially as far off the beaten track as we were. I struck up a conversation with the “baggage handler”.
Turns out that there were two pilots who both wanted to get to Manila that day, but as luck would have it, the plane was sold out, all 12 seats were taken. The pilots were arguing about who got to fly.
I asked the “baggage handler” to tell me which was the better pilot, maybe I thought I could settle this disagreement. Humans tend to have a strong built in survival instinct, the repairman was hitting the engine with a hammer. Maybe I could help stack the odds in my favor.
The “baggage handler” said this.
John has been flying the route for years and has a truly amazing record. During the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of flights, he has not once encountered severe weather or turbulent air and has never experienced a system failure or equipment malfunction. If there is such a thing as good karma, John has it.
The other pilot, Carlo, has not been so fortunate. He has encountered turbulent air countless times and also found himself in the middle of sudden severe storms numerous times. On one occasion, the plane took a lightening strike that knocked out the rudder control. On another occasion, a lightning strike knocked out an engine. During one flight the landing gear malfunctioned and Carlo had to enlist the help of a passenger to manually crank the landing gear into position while he continued to fly the plane. Carlo was still alive because he was expert at landing on beaches and fields and country roadways. If there was such a thing as bad karma, you might say that Carlo had it.
Knowing the experiences of both pilots, who would you rather fly with? Who would you rather have at the controls if, when things got dodgy?
There is often something unexpected in real estate transactions. Choose your realtor wisely. That’s all I’m saying.
As for my story, the engine was fixed, the sky was bird egg blue, the air was turbulence free, and Carlo ended up as our pilot, and as luck would have it, we didn’t get to experience his skill first hand.